News Rohan Glynn with his two Dalmations and German Pointer

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure for a big surprise – especially if you have dogs.

On the ascent: Brae Hill (blue cap) wins the Lincoln from Mull Of Killough

Brae Hill clings on to land first Lincoln for Fahey

Before the Lincoln Handicap, the first leg of the traditional spring double, was run here yesterday, bookmakers were already in pocket over the second, the Grand National. And a day that began badly for punters with the defection of the well-backed ante-post Aintree favourite, Prince De Beauchene, carried on in similar vein. The first winner of the domestic turf season, Norse Blues, started at 50-1 and the Lincoln went to 25-1 shot Brae Hill.

Mickael Barzalona celebrates

Barzalona has the world at his feet after Dubai success

Frenchman's latest big-race victory seals his place as the successor to Dettori at Godolphin

Reay: he directed specially treated blood bags to be dropped on Port Stanley

Lieutenant General Sir Alan Reay: Soldier who fought cutbacks

Not a drop was spilt of the blood parachuted down on to Port Stanley during the Falklands War in 1982 by Sir Alan Reay's Army Medical Services, but at home his personal rearguard action against a thousand cuts was to end a heroic failure.

Cattle virus hits nine more farms

Nine more farms in England have been hit by the Schmallenberg virus, the midge-borne livestock infection that can cause birth deformities in lambs and calves.

Trainer Paul Nicholls (far right) looks on as head lad Clifford Baker and groom Rose Loxton parade King George VI Chase winner Kauto Star around his home village of Ditcheat yesterday

Kauto Star '50-50' for Gold Cup

Kauto Star is only "50-50" to make the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after a fall when schooling last week, according to trainer Paul Nicholls.

Poisonous snakes found in luggage at Buenos Aires airport 

A man tried to board a plane in Argentina with almost 250 poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles in his baggage, each meticulously labelled with its Latin name.

Anger as badger culling given go-ahead for next year

Animal welfare campaigners say they will challenge badger culling in England after trials were given the go-ahead by the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman.

Derek Pain: Composter is down in the dumps but vet firm has legs

It's about time I reinforced the no pain, no gain portfolio. I have decided to recruit two contrasting shares – one down in the dumps, the other riding relatively high. They are both small caps that, I hope, will not be too troubled by the recessionary climate and could, with a little luck, emerge as valuable constituents.

Storie-Pugh: Dapper, with great energy and a charismatic personality

Dr Peter Storie-Pugh: Colditz prisoner who became a leading veterinary surgeon

There's a photograph in the small museum at Colditz Castle, Germany, which shows three prisoners after their failed attempt to escape from that notorious Second World War prison for Allied officers. In the centre, with a broad grin on his face, is a young Peter Storie-Pugh. He had been incarcerated since 1940, having been wounded and earning a Military Cross during the retreat to Dunkirk; he was captured, sent to Spangenberg prisoner-of-war camp, escaped, was recaptured and sent to Colditz. He remained there until the end of the war.

Professor William Jarrett: Celebrated veterinary scientist

When William Weipers was appointed director of the Glasgow veterinary school on its absorption into Glasgow University in 1949 he recruited a team of bright young graduates who earned Glasgow a unique place in the scientific spectrum. One of this group was William Fleming Jarrett. Jarrett, universally known as Bill, went on to establish an international reputation for his work on the viruses causing cancer – work that led to major developments in the treatment of the disease in animals and humans. He was instrumental in developing the research that identified the viruses causing leukaemia and Aids.

Zoo slaughter puts lax ownership laws in activists' sights

The deaths of nearly 50 wild animals, freed by their owner who then killed himself, spotlights flaws in US legislation

Scandal of the private zoo that ended in slaughter

Their owner freed them moments before his suicide. Now the hunting of scores of wild animals has shocked Ohio and America

Mental illness care 'close to a revolution'

A revolution in the treatment of psychiatric disorders involving the use of video games, brain surgery, new forms of therapy and drugs will transform the care of the mentally ill in the coming decades, America's leading expert in the field has said.

Zoology

Avian flu's back, warns UN – and new strain is resistant to vaccines

Fears of a fresh outbreak of bird flu this winter have been raised by the United Nations, after an increase in the number of deaths and, crucially, the emergence of a new, mutated strain of the disease.

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?